Increased angiotensin II (Ang II) sensitivity predisposes to hypertension and plaque instability. Raised low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) may increase Ang II sensitivity, but evidence in humans for this effect of LDL-c is limited. In 28, healthy, nonsmoking subjects, aged 30±8 years, with familial hypercholesterolemia, we determined the difference in infusion rate of Ang II and norepinephrine required to increase systolic blood pressure by 20 mm Hg (Pd-20) after 4 weeks of placebo and fluvastatin 80 mg daily in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Before infusions were started, fasting blood samples were taken to measure lipids. After 4 weeks of placebo, the mean LDL-c concentration was 6.3±1.4 mmol/L. The average decrease of LDL-c was 1.7±0.7 mmol/L after 4 weeks of fluvastatin (P<0.001). The mean Pd-20 for Ang II increased by 1.28 ng/kg per minute (95% CI, 2.05 to 0.50; P=0.002) on fluvastatin, corresponding with a 26% decrease in Ang II sensitivity. Ang II sensitivity, however, remained increased compared with normocholesterolemic controls. The Pd-20 values for norepinephrine were unaffected by fluvastatin. The present study in healthy, young subjects with isolated hypercholesterolemia shows an increased sensitivity to Ang II that partly can be restored by LDL-c-lowering therapy. These findings indicate that LDL-c levels directly influence Ang II sensitivity.

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Department of Internal Medicine

van der Linde, N., Sijbrands, E., Boomsma, F., & van den Meiracker, A. (2006). Effect of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol on angiotensin II sensitivity: A randomized trial with fluvastatin. Hypertension, 47(6), 1125–1130. doi:10.1161/01.HYP.0000221223.23028.f1